Research Summary. Some key points about hiring a certified occupational therapy assistants in the United States include:

  • HR departments typically spend 15% of their expenses on recruitment.
  • It usually takes about 12 weeks for a new employee to reach full productivity levels.
  • It typically takes 36-42 days to fill a job opening.
  • The median cost to hire a certified occupational therapy assistant is $1,633.
  • Small businesses spend an average of $1,105 per certified occupational therapy assistant on training each year, while large companies spend $658.
  • There are currently 44,928 certified occupational therapy assistants in the US and 70,679 job openings.
  • New York, NY, has the highest demand for certified occupational therapy assistants, with 25 job openings.
  • New York, NY has the highest concentration of certified occupational therapy assistants.

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How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

There are different types of costs for hiring certified occupational therapy assistants. One-time cost per hire for the recruitment process. Ongoing costs include employee salary, training, onboarding, benefits, insurance, and equipment. It is essential to consider all of these costs when evaluating hiring a new certified occupational therapy assistant employee.

You can expect to pay around $50,872 per year for a certified occupational therapy assistant, as this is the median yearly salary nationally. This can vary depending on what state or city you're hiring in. If you're hiring for contract work or on a per-project basis, hourly rates for certified occupational therapy assistants in the US typically range between $17 and $32 an hour.

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How to hire a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant, step by step

To hire a certified occupational therapy assistant, you should create an ideal candidate profile, determine a budget, and post and promote your job. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to hire a certified occupational therapy assistant:

  • Step 1: Identify your needs
  • Step 2: Create an ideal candidate profile
  • Step 3: Make a budget
  • Step 4: Writing a certified occupational therapy assistant job description
  • Step 5: Post the job
  • Step 6: Interview process
  • Step 7: Send a job offer and onboard your new certified occupational therapy assistant
  • Step 8: Go through the checklist for the hiring process

Identify Your Needs

The first step to find certified occupational therapy assistants for hire is determining what type of worker you actually need. Certain roles might require a full-time employee, whereas others can be done by part-time workers or contractors.

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A certified occupational therapy assistant's background is also an important factor in determining whether they'll be a good fit for the position. For example, certified occupational therapy assistants from different industries or fields will have radically different experiences and will bring different viewpoints to the role. You also need to consider the candidate's previous level of experience to make sure they'll be comfortable with the job's level of seniority.

The list breaks down common certified occupational therapy assistant roles and compares their salaries.

Type Of Certified Occupational Therapy AssistantDescriptionHourly Rate
Certified Occupational Therapy AssistantOccupational therapy assistants and aides help patients develop, recover, and improve the skills needed for daily living and working. Occupational therapy assistants are directly involved in providing therapy to patients; occupational therapy aides typically perform support activities... Show More$17-32
Rehab TechnicianA rehab technician's role is to assist physical therapists and patients in a hospital or similar facility. Typically, their responsibilities revolve around gathering a patient's personal information and medical history, escorting them to corresponding rooms, and conducting initial tests and assessments... Show More$10-17
Rehabilitation AideA rehabilitation aide is responsible for assisting patients with injuries, mental disorders, and illnesses in their treatment plans and medications. Rehabilitation aides monitor the patients' progress and update attending physicians regarding their conditions... Show More$10-16

Create An Ideal Candidate Profile

Before creating a certified occupational therapy assistant job description, imagine the ideal employee for this position and begin creating a profile. What skills do they have and what responsibilities do they have to be proficient in?

Certified occupational therapy assistants typically have the following skills:

Common Skills:
  • Patients
  • Rehabilitation
  • Home Health
  • Patient Care
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy Treatments
  • SNF
  • Adaptive
  • Acute Care
  • Compassion
  • Treatment Programs
  • Physical Therapy
  • Family Education
  • Adaptive Equipment
Check All Skills

Here are the most common certified occupational therapy assistant responsibilities:

  • Achieve advance clinical competency in UE splinting.
  • Rotate between acute care, SNF and rehab services with a variety of diagnosis.
  • Test and evaluate patients' physical and mental abilities and analyze medical data to determine realistic rehabilitation goals for patients.
  • Assist occupational therapists in implementing and administering therapy programs to restore and enhance performance, using select activities and adaptive equipment.
  • Provide client, family and caregiver education in adaptive equipment, durable medical equipment, home exercise programs and compensatory strategies.
  • Enact treatment plans for patients with neurological diagnoses particularly CVA.
Check all Duties

Beyond the nuts and bolts, cultural fit is an important factor. It might help to ask yourself how your ideal certified occupational therapy assistant will live by the company's mission statement and contribute to the team dynamic you already have in place. Clearly communicating this vision in your certified occupational therapy assistant job description will help attract candidates who are better suited for the role.

Most Common States For Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants In The US

Rank #State# Of Jobs% of PopulationAvg. Salary
4New Jersey1,33415%$45,665

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Make A Budget

Including a salary range in the job description is a good way to get more applicants. A certified occupational therapy assistant salary can be affected by several factors, such as the location of the job, their level of experience, education and certifications, and the prestige of the employer. For example, the average salary for a certified occupational therapy assistant in North Carolina may be lower than in New York, and an entry-level engineer typically earns less than a senior-level certified occupational therapy assistant. Additionally, a certified occupational therapy assistant with lots of experience in the field may command a higher salary as a result.

Updated March 16, 2023

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Salary Estimate


$24.46 hourly

Entry level Salary
$37,000 yearly

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Average Salary By Location

RankStateAvg. SalaryHourly RateJob Count
1New York$62,702$30

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Average Salary By Company

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Staten Island Academy$68,813$33.081
2Liberty HomeCare and Hospice$59,780$28.7425
3Health Alliance$58,135$27.957
4Grand View Health$56,353$27.092
5Mount Auburn Hospital$56,125$26.98
6VIVA USA$55,713$26.79
7Chelsea Jewish Lifecare$55,700$26.784
8MedPro Healthcare Staffing$55,509$26.69224
9Marin General Hospital: Foley Pamela MD$55,435$26.651
11West Tennessee Healthcare$55,175$26.533
12Landmark Hospital$55,139$26.518
13American Senior Benefits$54,901$26.39173
14ProMedica Toledo Hospital$54,899$26.39233
15Ciena Healthcare$54,864$26.385
16Suncrest Home Health & Hospice$54,659$26.283
17Minnesota State Fair$54,499$26.209
19Northern California Medical Associates$54,483$26.191
20John Muir Health$54,199$26.06

Writing a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Job Description

A certified occupational therapy assistant job description should include a summary of the role, required skills, and a list of responsibilities. It's also good to include a salary range and the first name of the hiring manager. Below, you can find an example of a certified occupational therapy assistant job description:

Example of Full Job Description

If you are a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA) who wants to be part of an amazing culture while making a genuine difference, then look no further than Hanford Post Acute! As the premier skilled nursing facility in Kings County, CA, Hanford Post Acute boasts 5 private rooms, large shared rooms, and plenty of open space to visit with family and friends. Our around-the-clock nursing staff is ready to assist our residents in achieving individual goals, while our #1 rated therapy team organizes the best rehabilitation plan for the quickest recovery to home!

At Hanford Post Acute, caring is our main concern. Our organization is built on the premise that the most effective way to provide compassionate care is to:

  • Maintain high medical integrity
  • Foster a team spirit among staff
  • Create friendly, beautiful surroundings for our residents and their visitors

We are looking for hard-working, friendly, and compassionate people to join our team! We offer competitive pay, great benefits, excellent culture with appreciation rewards, healthcare and 401k, training, and career advancement opportunities. We are currently looking for a Registered Dietitian to join our team. Successful candidates will have the following:

  • License: Current, active license as Physical Therapist, and is able to practice unencumbered.
    CPR Certification, as required for license renewal.
  • Work Experience: Experience in long-term care preferred
    Able to work on multiple tasks at the same time.
  • Excellent Communication Skills*

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Post A Job

To find the right certified occupational therapy assistant for your business, consider trying out a few different recruiting strategies:

  • Consider internal talent. One of the most important sources of talent for any company is its existing workforce.
  • Ask for referrals. Reach out to friends, family members, and current employees and ask if they know or have worked with certified occupational therapy assistants they would recommend.
  • Recruit at local colleges. Attend job fairs at local colleges to recruit certified occupational therapy assistants who meet your education requirements.
  • Social media platforms. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter now have more than 3.5 billion users, and you can use social media to reach potential job candidates.

Post your job online:

  • Post your certified occupational therapy assistant job on Zippia to find and attract quality certified occupational therapy assistant candidates.
  • Use niche websites such as healthcarejobsite, health jobs nationwide, hospitalcareers,
  • Post a job on free websites.

Interview Process

During your first interview to recruit certified occupational therapy assistants, engage with candidates to learn about their interest in the role and their experience in the field. During the next interview, you can go into more detail about the company, the role, and the responsibilities.

It's also a good idea to ask about candidates' special skills and talents. If you think that a candidate is good enough for the next step, you can move on to the technical interview.

The right interview questions can help you assess a candidate's hard skills, behavioral intelligence, and soft skills.

Send A Job Offer And Onboard Your New Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

Once you've found the certified occupational therapy assistant candidate you'd like to hire, it's time to write an offer letter. This should include an explicit job offer that includes the salary, as well as the details of any other perks. Qualified candidates might be looking at multiple positions, so your offer needs to be competitive if you really like the candidate. Also, be prepared for a negotiation stage, as candidates may way want to tweak the details of your initial offer. Once you've settled on these details, you can draft a contract to formalize your agreement.

It's also important to follow up with applicants who do not get the job with an email letting them know that the position is filled.

Once that's done, you can draft an onboarding schedule for the new certified occupational therapy assistant. Human Resources should complete Employee Action Forms and ensure that onboarding paperwork is completed, including I-9s, benefits enrollment, federal and state tax forms, etc. They should also ensure that new employee files are created for internal recordkeeping.

Go Through The Checklist For The Hiring Process

  • Determine employee type (full-time, part-time, contractor, etc.)
  • Submit a job requisition form to the HR department
  • Define job responsibilities and requirements
  • Establish budget and timeline
  • Determine hiring decision makers for the role
  • Write job description
  • Post job on job boards, company website, etc.
  • Promote the job internally
  • Process applications through applicant tracking system
  • Review resumes and cover letters
  • Shortlist candidates for screening
  • Hold phone/virtual interview screening with first round of candidates
  • Conduct in-person interviews with top candidates from first round
  • Score candidates based on weighted criteria (e.g., experience, education, background, cultural fit, skill set, etc.)
  • Conduct background checks on top candidates
  • Check references of top candidates
  • Consult with HR and hiring decision makers on job offer specifics
  • Extend offer to top candidate(s)
  • Receive formal job offer acceptance and signed employment contract
  • Inform other candidates that the position has been filled
  • Set and communicate onboarding schedule to new hire(s)
  • Complete new hire paperwork (i9, benefits enrollment, tax forms, etc.)
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Hiring Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants FAQs

How Much Does A Good Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Cost?

A good certified occupational therapy assistant costs $24.46 an hour in the US. However, it can vary based on factors such as the certified occupational therapy assistant experience, abilities, industry, and the specific requirements of your business.

What Are The Duties Of A Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant?

The duties of a certified occupational therapy assistant are:
  • Achieve advance clinical competency in UE splinting.
  • Rotate between acute care, SNF and rehab services with a variety of diagnosis.
  • Test and evaluate patients' physical and mental abilities and analyze medical data to determine realistic rehabilitation goals for patients.

Should I Hire A Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant With No Experience?

Yes, you should hire a certified occupational therapy assistant with no experience. Hiring an entry-level certified occupational therapy assistant with no experience offers versatility for your team. They may lack some qualifications, but are adaptable and have not yet formed problematic habits. However, more training may be required compared to experienced.

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